As a Google Trusted photographer, I shoot panoramic pictures mostly 360 panoramas but any other type of panorama can also be provided. The reason for 360 photos is that is what is used a lot on the Google platforms there is more and more being done to provide an interactive user engaged experience. Wikipedia describes panoramic pictures as “An image showing a field of view approximating, or greater than, that of the human eye – about 160° by 75° – may be termed panoramic. This generally means it has an aspect ratio of 2:1 or larger, the image being at least twice as wide as it is high. The resulting images take the form of a wide strip. Some panoramic images have aspect ratios of 4:1 and sometimes 10:1, covering fields of view of up to 360 degrees.” The photos below are ones that I have shot as 360 images with an aspect ratio of 2:1.
The term “panorama” means “all sight” in Greek and the concept was first developed by painters who wanted to capture a wider view of a landscape scene, not just a focused section, not just a certain part of it. Then with the advent of photography, many approaches have been used starting by laying photos side by side to create a panorama. Now with digital cameras and elaborate stitching software stitching and matching 100’s of photos is possible with much of it automated.
These types of pictures take an adjustment in thinking when setting up the photograph to be taken. A standard photograph is made with attention to the framing and controlling what the user can see. The placing of the subject is to direct the eye to what you are trying to show and creating an interesting image. In 360 photography the photographer does not control what the viewer looks at only the starting point is predetermined. Engagement is increased in the scene that a regular flat photography can be taken in or glanced at and you get the idea very fast. With a panoramic picture, there is much more eye movement to see the scene and get the whole picture of what is being shown.
The quality of the pictures produced varies based on the type of camera and time spent on producing the image and post-processing. For my work, I produce two types of images lower resolution fast to produce singe shot photos taken with a relatively inexpensive camera. The speed of shooting allows for large areas to be captured with many shots taken from many different spots fast. The cost to have these done is much less due to the reduced time needed. The tradeoff is the resulting images are just not as clear and crisp as the same type of scene taken with multiple shots with a DSLR camera and stitched together to make one image from about 100 separate images. Both resulting photos can be edited and improved but single shot low resolutions photos cannot be edited up to the quality of a high-resolution panorama made with multiple high-resolution photos optimized for dynamic range and then stitched together.
DSLR based photos and one shot 360 photos are both good but the selection of how to proceed in selecting what type of photos to have shot for you is based on budget and end use of the photos. Naturally, the final image also conveys a view of quality that reflects on the company location that is being represented or the scene being displayed.
The uses of Panoramic Photographs
In the old days they were used to show the scale of a scene or a much bigger perspective of what was going on at a specific location. In the national archives are some interesting photos created years ago that brings you back in time when the Panama Canal was dug or the destruction of the San Francisco earthquake. Now with high speed internet access, digital cameras and very smart software to organize and stitch together high quality images into a virtual reality photo that is an image taken so that you move around the image, not see the camera or equipment that supports it, rather it is like you are floating in space looking around at what is at that location from any angle you want. You can zoom in and around the pictures.
Connecting the images creates virtual tours
Multiple images assembled together with navigation between each point lets the user do a virtual walkthrough of a location to see the details, architecture, equipment on site and or the layout of the facilities. With other software, multiple panoramic images can be stitched together to create 3-dimensional creations that you can move up down and laterally in because many panoramas are coupled together and linked by an enormous number of coordinates that the software can match within the collection of panoramas.